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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: October 1, 2023: ON a day of upsets galore, debutante Confess Our Dreams was the solitary shining light for favorite punters at Newcastle yesterday.

Even then, she nearly didn’t make it in time to clinch a winning debut in the Maiden Handicap (900m).

Leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup was at Royal Randwick, but watched anxiously as his three-year-old filly, confidently backed to start at $2.45, overcame a troublesome passage in the straight before scrambling home in a gutsy performance.

And he could not have been more pleased for her Melbourne owner Akram Younan, who cheered home his team Colllingwood in yesterday’s gripping AFL grand final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“Akram bred Confess Our Dreams, and unfortunately lost the filly’s Dam The Beautiful Wife, who died earlier this year,” Widdup said.

“Confess Our Dreams has been a work in progress, but has shown ability right from the start.

“She won both her trials at Wyong and Kembla Grange last month, and I was pretty confident she would run well on debut yesterday.

“Confess Our Dreams is a fast filly, but I thought she did a good job to come from behind after being held up for clear running between the 400m and 250m.

“I’m not going to push her. I would like to give her one more run, but otherwise she will go for a break.”

Confess Our Dreams’ successful debut at Broadmeadow was fitting. Her dam was a daughter of Newcastle’s star international sprinter Choisir.

The filly was Widdup’s ninth winner of the new season, and his career 305th.

Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Mike Van Gestel also was in the winning list at Newcastle, continuing on from his successful 2022-23 season when he prepared a benchmark 10 winners with only two horses.

One of that pair, No Statement, lifted his winning tally to 10 when he made light of a huge weight to land the Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m) at $15.

Even after apprentice Molly Bourke’s 3kg claim, the tough five-year-old still carried 62kg – but it wasn’t enough to stop him.

He finished gamely to defeat $2.25 favorite The Escape and $17 chance Omar.

No Statement, as well as winning 10 races, has also been placed 14 times as he nears a career half-century (currently 47) starts, and took his earnings beyond $300,000.

Van Gestel, with his boutique team, has now three races in the first two months of the 2023-24 racing year; the first two with Titan Star at Canberra on the synthetic (ACTON) track in August and September.

No Statement is building a tidy Newcastle record, having now raced at Broadmeadow seven times for three wins and two placings.

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